There are those who believe the chest strap for the backpack is an unnecessary item. For some, it does seem superfluous when first putting on the backpack as the shoulders are still carrying the weight.

However, a backpack with a chest strap or sternum strap offers definite advantages that will help ease the load and make your hiking or camping adventure more comfortable.

What is a Detachable Sternum Strap?

This is a strap that runs horizontally across the chest and connects the two vertical shoulder straps. Most backpack designs have a chest strap or allow for one. You can even use the strap to loosely carry the backpack over your shoulder if you are traveling short distances. The strap itself is made from sturdy, durable materials like shoulder straps and snaps together in the center for easy removal.

The benefit of the Removable Chest Strap:

Chest and Sternum Strap Helps for Backpacking Trip
Support is AWESOME!

The main advantage is that the strap will provide support for the upper part of your body. Without the chest or sternum strap, all the weight of the backpack will pull down on your shoulders.

Plus, with heavy backpacks, there is the tendency of the pressure to pull back forcing you to increase tension on the shoulder and upper back muscles to keep the backpack in a proper position.

When you add a chest strap to the backpack, you are taking some of the pressure off your shoulders and distributing it to other muscles in the upper body.

It eases the tension on the shoulder muscles that no longer have to keep the backpack from slipping off. It also keeps the backpack in the proper position so that your posture is not adversely affected.

The reason why many people do not initially use the chest strap is that the tension doesn’t seem that high. However, over time as you are hiking the tension increases which leads to greater fatigue of the shoulder and upper back muscles. The chest strap takes away part of the tension by distributing the weight to the chest.

How to Add a Chest Strap?

If your backpack does not include a chest strap, you can purchase a replacement one at a low cost. All backpacks that use the double shoulder straps can have a chest strap added and it makes an excellent spare part in case the original is lost or no longer useful.

The majority of our best selected tactical backpacks have a sternum strap with it.

A replacement strap hooks around each shoulder strap and snaps together across the chest. You can adjust the tension of the chest or sternum strap so that it fits tight without digging into the skin. You’ll feel the tension move down from the shoulders as the strap holds the pack firmly against your pack when hiking. In addition, you will stand a little taller which improves your overall posture which removes further tension from your lower back, hips, and legs.

Purchasing a replacement chest strap for a backpack is a wise investment, providing the pack with extra support which eases the tension on the muscles, so you will not tire out as quickly on your hiking adventures.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.

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